Today at lunch time has been a terrible tragedy in the historic city of Liege when a murderous attack killed four people and injured 75 (so far, numbers may change) in the middle of the city. The first target seems to have been a bus shelter at Place Saint-Lambert. There are conflicting reports about who is guilty for this. Witnesses said there were a group of attackers, shooting guns and throwing bombs, officials though say there was only one, Nordine Amrani (32) who carried out the killings and then did suicide to himself. Emergency stations were set up, people were advised to stay off the streets and emergency assistance was sent from Namur and Maastricht. It is a terrible, terrrible day and the pictures released even by the media are shocking of the horror and bloodshed. Who could do such a terrible thing? I don't know who is Nordine Amrani. The police say he was sentenced to 58 months in prison in 2008 after an inspection of his home found stocks of illegal weapons and 2,800 cannabis plants. From just the name, Amrani, I would guess he was a Moroccan but I cannot know that for sure yet. After what has happened in so many cities all across Europe and what happened in Norway, the first thing that entered my mind was this was either a deranged Muslim or a deranged Belgian angry at the Muslims all over the country. Every act of mass violence seems to be one of those two nowadays. Just recently the news said that in my beloved Antwerp a Kalashnikov (AK-47) was found in the home of a young Belgian convert to Islam who is a member of the radical group Sharia4Belgium. And in Mons a Muslim father was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for the "Honor Killing" of his own daughter, Sadia Sheikh. A brother who was the one who actually shot the poor girl was sentenced to 15 years in gaol and a sister was given five years. She was 20 years old and what was her "crime"? She wanted to marry her Belgian boyfriend instead of the Pakistani chosen by her parents. What is the country coming to? Never before have such things happened. Even my parents who are the most peaceful, moderate (and really boring!) people you can think of, are becoming alarmed by all of this that seems to be increasing every day. But what can you do? Today all I can do is say a prayer for the poor people in Liege and their families who have been robbed of their loved ones by this maniac.
The King and Queen late tonight visited the scene of the disaster, meeting with local officials, survivors and families of the victims. The feeling of horror could be seen on their faces all day.